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iBasso Audio DX200 Reference DAP

Rating:
4.58333/5,
  1. ExpatinJapan
    Power, performance, price and pleasure. The iBasso DX200.
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Mar 1, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Detailed, large sound stage, excellent separation, accurate representation of recording, looks smexy, great build, neutral dap
    Cons - Some early units had UI problems, which is presently being rectified with Firmware updates

    IBasso DX200 Review - Expatinjapan

     
    [​IMG]
     iBasso DX200 with iBasso IT03 IEMs.​
     ​
    iBasso DX200 review
    -expatinjapan​
     ​
    http://ibasso.com/cp_xq_dy.php?id=4898
    For full details and additional technical graphics see the above link​
     ​
    I was excited to have the chance to experience and review the latest and greatest iBasso product, the DX200. It has proven to be a worthy contender amongst the current field of TOTL daps.
     
    Earlier at Head pie we were sent the iBasso IT03 for review and feedback and thought it performed well, and was priced more than fair. Since then the iBasso IT03 has gone on to be a favorite for many, fitting a decent balance between price and performance. You can read the Head pie IT03 review here: http://headpie.blogspot.jp/2016/10/ibasso-it03-review-expatinjapan.html
     
    [​IMG]
     iBasso DX200 and Campfire Audio Vega (with the Dita Awesome Truth cable).
     
    I have had the iBasso DX200 for just over month and it has been my daily traveling companion. So far I have just over 400 hours on it, via listening and burn in by using the included 2.5mm burn cable.​
     ​
    It has been an impressive month, noticing significant changes as the hours passed. At the 50, 75, 100, 150, 250, 300, 350+ marks I noticed more and more changes to the iBasso DX200 as it tightened up overall, resolution and detail improved. The sound stage was always satisfying wide. The bass was more controlled over time, the mids were more balanced and the clarity and reach of the treble increased. I used mainly the Campfire Audio Vega and Andromeda IEMs so that I could keep track of the subtle improvements as the hours ticked by.​
     ​
    The iBasso DX200 certainly packs enough power and is helped by a low and high gain setting. No doubt the early beginnings of iBasso and their many portable amplifiers have helped to fine tune this part of the circuitry. There definitely is not any need for a portable amplifier, that is unless one wants to color the sound by using a tube amplifier or some such.​
     ​
    iBasso had released the DX100 at what seems many years now (2012?), but not so long ago. It was one of the first batch of hi-res daps to come out at the time. And I remember trying Currawongs of Head-fi at the time at one of the Fujiya Avic shows in Tokyo.​
    The DX200 significantly improves on the DX100.

    The iBasso had a few teething problems as in minor bugs with a few of its early units. This was addressed with a new Firmware on March 1st, 2017.
     ​
    Improvements with this firmware:​
    1. Touch panel sensitivity adjusted.​
    2. Rectified the bug that the DX200 can't be woken up from a sleep mode occasionally.​
    3. Added adjustable line out on Mango OS.​
    4. Rectified the bug that the next and rewind buttons are swapped on some third party player Apps.​
    See and download here:   http://www.ibasso.com/down.php
     ​
    **UPDATE: iBasso has released another two firmware updates and are continuing to work on more fixes. The most recent being V2.0.78Beta from March 7th which I am running with no problems.
     
    Also I am following the Head-fi thread, and also reading Facebook posts and see that iBasso is promptly rectifying any units with issues and providing excellent customer service. Well done iBasso!
     
     ​
    [​IMG]
    Image via iBasso Website
      [​IMG]
    Image via iBasso website.
      [​IMG]
    Image via iBasso website.  
     ​
    Later came the DX50, DX90 and DX80 Daps.​
    No one really knew what to expect next, certainly not the high end DX200, and definitely not at the excellent comparatively low price. ​
     ​
    iBasso continues their tradition of `great sound, at a fair price` .​
     ​
    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200 and Dita Dream and Dita the Truth Awesome cable at the Fujiya Avic show.
     ​
    Unboxing and build 

     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    The iBasso DX200 comes in an exquisite, functional and unique packaging.​
     
    [​IMG]
     
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    The DX200 box is two halves lined with protective solid foam, within is a bed of foam where the DX200 itself safely rests on. Gorgeous packing is a guilty pleasure of many a consumer.
     
    [​IMG]
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    The DX200 comes with a screen cover already perfectly laid, with the screen cover protective layer still laid atop for a clean delivery of a spotless screen.
     
    [​IMG]
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    The two halves gracefully slide apart to reveal the treasure within.​
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    Simple, beautiful and elegant designing are the first thoughts one has when seeing the iBasso DX200 unveiled for the first time.
    Although it looks heavy, it is actually quite lightweight in ones hand as AnakChan recently commented when he tried my DX200.
     
    [​IMG]
     
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    [​IMG]
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    The fully metal case when combined with the included smexy leather case makes for an attractive and robust Dap, perfect for those daily commutes or lounging at a cafe.​
     
    [​IMG]
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    Line out, 3.5mm jack (single ended), 2.5mm jack (balanced).​
     
    [​IMG]
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    TOP:  Optical and coax output. SPDIF (cable included), ​
    Type C USB for charging and data transfer, on/off etc button.​
     
    [​IMG]
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    Slot for a micro SD card, on the right we see the detachable section, other modules and configurations will be available in the future.
     
    [​IMG]
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    The detachable module on the left, three physical buttons for back, play/pause/stop, forward and a volume wheel with 150 steps.
     
    [​IMG]
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    The iBasso packs a decent dual set of the latest ES9028PRO chips.​
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
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    Under the foam bedding we find more compartments.​
     
    [​IMG]
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    A charging and data transfer USB C cable, SPDIF cable and a burn in cable for the 2.5mm jack, which also works on the main circuitry. 200 hours burn in is recommended for it to approach its full potential
     
    [​IMG]
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    A gorgeous leather case, warranty and instruction book.​
    A further PDF manual is available for download from the iBasso website.​
     
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    A graphic break down of the outer components.​
    [​IMG]
    Image via iBasso website​
     ​
    The iBasso DX200 will also have changeable Amp cards in the future with differing functions.​
    [​IMG]
    image via iBasso website​
      Specifications and features
     
    [​IMG]
     iBasso DX200 and iBasso IT03 IEMs​
     ​
     
    [​IMG]
    Image via iBasso website.​
     
    [​IMG]
    Image via iBasso website.​
     
    Specifications:
     
    2.5mm Balanced Output:
    Output voltage 6Vrms
    Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz -0.16dB
    Signal to Noise Ratio:125dB
    Crosstalk: -122dB
    THD+N: < 0.0002%, -114dB (64Ω@3Vrms)
    3.5mm Single-ended Output:
    Output voltage 3Vrms
    Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz -0.16dB
    Signal to Noise Ratio:122dB
    Crosstalk: -118dB
    THD+N: < 0.00032%,-110dB (32Ω@1.8Vrms)
    Lineout:
    Output voltage 3Vrms
    Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz -0.16dB
    Signal to Noise Ratio:122dB
    THD+N: < 0.00025%,-112dB
     
    Dimension 128.5mm*69mm*19.5mm.  Weight 240g
     ​
    [​IMG]
     iBasso DX200 and iBasso IT03 IEMs​
     ​
    Features:​

     
    1.  Micro SDXC card slot.
    2.  Type C USB connector (C connector USB2).
    3.  RK3368 CPU.
    4.  2GB LPDDR.
    5.  The DAC chip is the ES9028pro (dual).
    6.. WIFI
    7.. Blue Tooth.
    8.  64gb internal memory.
    9.  Mango (iBasso operating system) and Android 6.0.
    10. Interchangeable amplifier sections. 
    11. Stock amplifier: Amp1 a balanced and single ended amplifier. Specifications above.
    12. Custom leather case included.
    13. Optical and coax output. SPDIF
    14. Line out. 
     
    iBasso DX200 manual:
    http://ibasso.com/uploadfiles/20170123/201701230405436442.pdf
     
    [​IMG]
      iBasso DX200 and iBasso IT03 IEMs​

     Price and value
      `The DX200 has been designed from the ground up. Interchangeable amps, a CNC case and the finest components.` - iBasso.
     
    Retail price $869.00. 
     
    Well, in this age of $4000 `TOTL` daps, where does the iBasso DX200 fit in? Coming in under $1000 was a bit of a surprise in this bloated market. Should iBasso have attempted to milk the cow just for sake of a chance at more dollars?, or continued their general philosophy of a `great product at a fair price`, they appear to have gone for the latter, much to everyones general pleasure.
     
    Reading the iBasso DX200 thread on Head-fi and hearing from people who own one or more of the more recently released TOTL Daps, it seems that the iBasso DX200 holds its own very well against them.
     
    I myself recently did some A/B`ing against other TOTL heavyweight daps such as the Sony WM1Z, AK380CU (with amp) and AK380SS (with amp) and also came to the same conclusions.
    The overall differences seem minuscule and incremental rather than significant. The differences playing out more in terms of signature than in terms of performance as such.
    I found the DX200 similar to the AK380CU +Amp in terms of sound signature and I also used a SPL.
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    [​IMG]
    AK380SS(with amp), AK380CU(with amp) and iBasso DX200 at the Fujiya Avic show.​
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
    Sony NW-WM1Z & Tralucent 1Plus2.2​
     
    I myself find the DX200 to be an extremely well built player, beautiful to hold and look at, the UI functional and easy to navigate. 
    Some users had some trouble with the first batch concerning the UI but iBasso is addressing those persons concerned. Currently as of this writing iBasso is working on the next update which will take care of many of these initial hiccups one expects.
    UPDATE: New March 1st update firmware here: http://www.ibasso.com/down.php
     
    **UPDATE: iBasso has released another two firmware updates and are continuing to work on more fixes. The most recent being V2.0.78Beta from March 7th which I am running with no problems.
     
    Also I am following the Head-fi thread, and also reading Facebook posts and see that iBasso is promptly rectifying any units with issues and providing excellent customer service. Well done iBasso!

    The sound generally is neutral, so one can attach their high priced in ears or headphones and hear them play back music as intended, and EQ is included for those who wish to dabble with the sound signature and several filters are also available.
     
    It truly is an outstanding dap. Full bodied, great resolution and details, decently wide soundstage, fairly neutral and clear. It ticks all the boxes for me.
    A marvel at the price.
     
    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200 and Campfire Audio Andromeda IEMs with ALO Balanced Reference 8 cable.​
     ​
    Sound and more
     
    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200 with Campfire Audio Vega.​
     ​
    I made sure I had at least the recommended amount of 200 hours before really getting into the review process. During that time I was of course also listening to, nearly on a daily basis as it is such a pleasurable device to use and listen to.
     
    Eventually I got to 300 hours plus and thats when the iBasso DX200 definitely came into it own as reference style dap. It is neutral in the sense that music is played back authentically to its original source material and intention of reproduction.
    Neutral in the sense that ones earphones retain the sound signature that they have been purchased for.
     
    A low output impedance of under .3 of an ohm in single ended and balanced mode, and the low/high gain setting means that the iBasso is a good fit for most IEMs, even the most sensitive. 
    There have been reports of some minimal amounts of hissing on some extra sensitive IEMs but this seems relegated to the usual suspects/IEMs that turn up in every review.
     
    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200 with JOMO 6R and ALO Reference 8 cable​

    Mostly I used Campfire Audio IEM models the Vega and the Andromeda. Being both TOTL IEMs from the same manufacturer and also one being a dynamic driver and the other being a 5 driver BA IEM with a reputation for being sensitive, I thought consistency would help to me to uncover the subtleties of the iBasso DX200.
    Of course as you can see in the many photos I also tried it with many other IEMs and also some headphones such as the ATH-ESW9, ATHESW11 and the ATH-A900.

    I used FLAC 16/44 mostly, along with a few sample tracks of 24/96.

    Mostly I shuffled the music so each track was unexpected to ensure my listening wasn`t influenced wholly by just playing my favorite tracks.
    I tested it at my home, semi quiet cafes and on my daily train commutes.
    I did some comparisons with lower priced daps and dac/amps also.

    Note: I haven`t listed the many tracks that I listened to whilst testing. This is for a specific reason. The iBasso DX200 being a neutral dap the sound impressions would be largely resulting from the sonics of each individual earphone rather than the DX200 itself.
    My findings are a summary of the dap generally as I swapped between many headphones and earphones over a period of several weeks and hours with a variety of music genres.

    As I am not a streamer of music (Spotify etc) so I did not explore those functions, although I did test out the wifi connectivity and found it satisfactory and non interfering at 5Ghz.
     ​
    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200 with Campfire Audio Vega and ALO Reference 8 Cable.​
     ​
    The first impressions from 0-45 hours were veering from wow! to average which was to change over the course to overwhelmingly positive as the iBasso DX200 opened up.
     
    My experience of owning and reviewing many portable audio items has ended up that now I take my time. I generally do not offer many early or mid time impressions as either through the gear burning in or my brain, my opinion changes until I get to the heart of the matter and the true sound of what ever it is that I am reviewing.
     
    It was the same with the iBasso DX200 as I have mentioned already, although with the iBasso DX200 the changes were quite noticeable, and pleasing.
     
    Early days and Initial firmware.
    My first listen was with the iBasso IT03 of course, I thought `wow!`, there was certainly a definite synergy between them both...of course.
     
    Next day I tried the Campfire Andromeda.
    I detected a slight hiss (which resolved itself with more burn in and updating the firmware later), 
    It had great details and resolution, I could notice at that early stage the typical Sabre ESS Dac signature - high in the treble end (which also later went away).
    It seemed a bit sterile in the initial days and I didn`t find myself involuntarily head nodding at that time.
     
    I also had a bit of trouble mounting it to my Macbook which was easily resolved with the release of the DX200 manual
    http://ibasso.com/uploadfiles/20170123/201701230405436442.pdf
     
    The third day I also uploaded the new firmware which seemed to have a bit more low end and body to it.
    It was also the day I threw the Campfire Audio Vega into the mix.
    I had also started to become more comfortable with the DX200 as I had got to know the UI more, and it seemed more speedy and responsive after the update.
    I am enjoying reading the Head-fi posts in the DX200 thread, it seems like a good group of people and most everyone has something useful to offer.
     
    An interesting aside as I got more hours on the device to bring me up to around 50 hours, the DX200 seems to have reached its first point and I found myself concurrently enjoying listening to the music, analytically noticing the details of the player and also forgetting that I am listening to the device and drifting off all at the same time. An unusual situation for this reviewer and shows good signs of things to come.
     
    At 65 hours + I started to notice the bass tightening up as it should, and the soundstage begin to open up more.
     
    100 hours, the next milestone. Using the Android player, Campfire Audio Vega with balanced ALO reference cable, it all seems a great match.
    The DX200 certainly is tighter overall now. Even better detail and resolution, wider sound stage, bass is fast, instruments well separated, the highs have more air and extension.
     ​
    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200 with Campfire Audio Andromeda and ALO Balanced Reference 8 cable.​

    Hours on the Dx200 300-400+.... Well I certainly have enough hours on the DX200 now.

    As I write this morning about to collect up my final notes and to type them up, it seems iBasso has released a new Firmware to address the most pressing issues:
    Improvements with this firmware:
    1. Touch panel sensitivity adjusted.
    2. Rectified the bug that the DX200 can't be woken up from a sleep mode occasionally.
    3. Added adjustable line out on Mango OS.
    4. Rectified the bug that the next and rewind buttons are swapped on some third party player Apps.
     
    **UPDATE: iBasso has released another two firmware updates and are continuing to work on more fixes. The most recent being V2.0.78Beta from March 7th which I am running with no problems.
     
    After 300 hours the DX200 certainly comes into its own.

    It is a neutral dap as has been mentioned with no emphasis on the lows nor the highs.
    It is designed to retain the signature of your purchased ear/headphones.
    The low impedance is excellent for sensitive IEMs.

    The Bass is tight and accurate to the recording.
    The Mids are enough in that they complement the music being played, they are neither forward nor recessed.
    The highs are clear and detailed, I did not notice any veering towards sibilance, except when I tested with poor mp3s.

    A larger to larger sound stage.
    Excellent timbre and imaging.
    Instrument separation is clearly defined and placement is accurate.

    I did, one day after listening to the Campfire Audio Vega IEMs on steady rotate start to think, `Hey this is a warm dap, with a lot of low end`, I then switched to the JOMO6R and got the shock of my life as the JOMO6R is a truly reference IEM with lots of air.

    With iBassos own IT03 earphone of one dynamic driver and two BAs  http://ibasso.com/cp_xq_dy.php?id=4756#page1 there is a wonderful synergy as to be expected. As I don`t have the iBasso upgrade to balanced cable I am quite tempted to connect it to the ALO Audio Reference 8 cable to see what its like.

    At its present stage including the recent March 1st update and many hours of burn in, the DX200 is definitely a high performer, and a device that should make people think twice before spending $400 or $4000 on a Dap.

    With its clear and concise low end, present and emotionally moving middle and a high end that is full of clarity without over extension. It is a pleasure to listen to.
    A soundstage of the wider variety. It is very natural, whilst other players can center the sound in particular places within the skull, the DX200 sound is very evenly placed and sphere like.
    Excellent instrument separation and accurate placement.

    Android vs iBasso Mango
    As far as sound quality is concerned I found them to be be very close.
    I did think that the simpler and less cpu hungry basic iBasso mango to be slightly ahead in terms of sound quality, space and over dynamics. A bit more effortless.

    I do love the Android players volume graphic.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    iBasso DX200 with Campfire Audio Vega and ALO Balanced Litz cable​
     ​
    User interface.
     
    The user can choose and Android Mango player or just a basic Mango player.
    Reports from several have favored the basic Mango player.
    Also one can stream via wifi and various apps, or install a player of ones choice.
    See the Head-fi Dx200 thread OP: http://www.head-fi.org/t/791531/dx200-details-features-and-specifications-1st-page-with-wifi-and-bluetooth-interchangeable-amps#post_12169678
     
    I have two videos of the UI below, on occasion I missed the screen as I was holding my ipod touch to film and operating the screen at the same time (not lag, just finger misplacement).
     ​
     
     
    Android 6.0 player​
     ​
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    Mango (iBasso operating system).​
     ​
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    To change to the iBasso Mango player, hold down the power button until the menu comes up.​
     ​
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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    I have included various photos of some of the main menu features, as you will notice there are more that I did not cover due to space. But enough is seen of what the iBasso DX200 has to offer.​
     ​
    [​IMG]
     The in player UI is divided into four halves, accessed by swiping left or right.
     ​


    Connection via USB-C to a computer and how to transfer files.
     
    **UPDATE: iBasso has released another two firmware updates and are continuing to work on more fixes. The most recent being V2.0.78Beta from March 7th which I am running with no problems.
     
     
    [​IMG]
    From the iBasso DX200 manual.​
     ​
    Fpr Apple/Mac one may have to use the Android File transfer application​
     ​
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     ​
    [​IMG]
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    Updating the firmware
     ​
    This is in the manual but it leaves out one piece of information.
     
    First you have to unzip the file, inside is a Read me and also another zipped file. 
    That is the file you use for the updating.
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    Line out and SPDIF functions
     
    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200, ALO SXC8 interconnect, ALO Audio Continental V5 and Campfire Audio Nova.​
     
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
    with Effect Audio Thor ii+ balanced cable to EA BL adaptor to SE​
     ​
     ​
    Certainly the iBasso DX200 does not need any external amping in terms of power nor sound.
    As it is it stands alone quite happily in terms of sonics.
    But for the sake of science and those wondering `what If..`, I connected the iBasso DX200 to the ALO Audio Continental V5 via the DX200 Line Out and to the ifi Micro iDSD BL via the included iBasso  Optical and coax output/SPDIF cable.
    The functions worked seamlessly and easily.
    I enjoyed the fun, smooth, tube lushness that the ALO Continental V5 (with stock tube) bought to the DX200. More an exercise in offering something different and enhancing than something needed in this case.
    The DX200 when using the SPIDF function performed well in the simple task of being a source to the ifi Micro iDSD BL, and leaving it up to the ifi DAC and Amp to do the heavy lifting.
     
    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200 to ifi Micro iDSD BL with Campfire Audio Nova using the included SPIDF cable.​
     ​
    [​IMG]
     
    Line out​
     ​
    The iBasso DX200 also has a USB DAC function, certainly an all rounder when it comes to connectivity and options.​
     ​
    [​IMG]
    Image via iBasso website.​
     ​
     ​
    Size 
    The size of the DX200 is well within acceptable parameters. It fits comfortably within the palm of my hand, or within my jacket pocket.
    It is not so large as some would imagine, nor it is heavy.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
    Size comparison with ipod touch 5G, iBasso DX200 and ipod 5G 30GB (Wolfson).​
     ​
    AnakChan of Head-fi`s comments after taking the iBasso DX200 for a quick spin at the Fujiya Avic show in Tokyo, Japan 2/19/2017.
     
    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200 & Tralucent 1Plus2.2​
     
    [​IMG]
     
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    [​IMG]
    iBasso DX200 and JH Audio at the Fujiya Avic show​
     ​
    Overview
    The iBasso DX200 is a well built, excellent sounding, high performing priced dap in a overgrown field of over priced under performing daps.
     
    The build is faultless on my model, although some have reported touch screen difficulties from the first batch. iBasso has addressed those concerns and provided customer service to my knowledge.
    A new main firmware is up and coming to address the few issues that have been reported.
     
    UPDATE: On March 1st a new firmware was released to address the most pressing issues:
    Improvements with this firmware:
    1. Touch panel sensitivity adjusted.
     
    **UPDATE: iBasso has released another two firmware updates and are continuing to work on more fixes. The most recent being V2.0.78Beta from March 7th which I am running with no problems.
    Also I am following the Head-fi thread, and also reading Facebook posts and see that iBasso is promptly rectifying any units with issues and providing excellent customer service. Well done iBasso!
     

    As it stands I find the iBasso DX200 to be near fully functional to my needs, and I have not encountered any significant bugs as others have reported, some minor improvements to be can made I have noticed, but thats about it. I have done and will continue to give iBasso feedback on any points that can be improved or need fixing.
     
    It looks and feels great, the supplied leather case gives it protection and  smexy bonus points.
     
    It is neutral in the sense that music is played back authentically to its original source material and intention of reproduction.
    Neutral in the sense that ones earphones retain the sound signature that they have been purchased for.
     
    The iBasso DX200 has a  low output impedance of under .3 of an ohm in single ended and balanced mode and the low/high gain setting means that the iBasso is a good fit for most IEMs, even the most sensitive. There have been reports of some minimal amounts of hissing on some extra sensitive IEMs but this seems relegated to the usual suspects/IEMs that turn up in every review.
    The DX200 has enough power to handle most headphones from general reports and my own experiments with my more portable and less power hungry models.
     
    As I am not a streamer of music (Spotify etc) so I did not explore those functions, although I did test out the wifi connectivity and found it satisfactory and non interfering at 5Ghz.
    The Google play store isn`t up and running yet, but some having been directly installing apps by way of apk files.
    The head-fi thread OP post has some information on how to do this:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/791531/dx200-details-features-and-specifications-1st-page-with-wifi-and-bluetooth-interchangeable-amps#post_12169678
     
    The DX200 has 7 subtle filters to craft the sound in increments.
    Also is a EQ for those savages who enjoy EQ`ing :)
     
    Although some have reported some warmth from their units, I have not experienced such a phenomena using 16/44 FLAC files. This seems to mainly occur with DSD and higher resolutions because the player will get warmer because it consumes more current. 
     
    To learn more either go to the iBasso site  http://ibasso.com/cp_xq_dy.php?id=4898
    The iBasso DX200 manual:  http://ibasso.com/uploadfiles/20170123/201701230405436442.pdf
     
    In conclusion the iBasso DX200 whilst on release had a few bugs in the early batches, (and a few very minor more to be rectified in the probable near future) is a stellar piece of audio gear. Any customer issues been steadily and promptly addressed by iBasso either by an exchange of the unit from what I have read or by yesterdays update and future updates.
     
    Every audiophile has their own person needs and budget, there also being recently and upsurge in the $400 - $500 bracket of daps. Also one has to keep in mind the correct pairing of earphones/headphones to match the dap.
    I would like to see a package deal promotion of the DX200 bundled with their IT03 earphone for example.
     
    The DX200 is a dap that has a neutral presentation and is neither warm/dark nor on the bright side of things. For my tastes this is perfect as I prefer not to have my earphones influenced by a player. If I want a dark, light or warm sound I change my earphones. And thats how it should be in my book.
     
    Often daps that veer to a warm or light sound usually are trying to mask a short coming in my experience. More treble to appear more detailed and airy, more bass and warmth to mask the lack of detail etc and appear more smooth, same with an output impedance of 3, 5 or more. It always rings my bell.
     
    Thankfully the iBasso DX200 displays none of these faults and/or warning signs (to my thinking anyway).
    With a cool under .3 of an Ohm output impedance on both single ended and balanced jacks, oodles of power on each of them 2.5mm Balanced Output: Output voltage 6Vrms and 3.5mm Single-ended Output: Output voltage 3Vrms.
    It definitely has enough power overall, one shouldn`t expect to have to add an external amp at this price (or more).
     
    The UI is quite easy to learn and use, even for Android neophytes like myself.
     
    A fantastically wide sound stage coupled with excellent instrument separation and imaging makes the DX200 truly a joy to listen to.
    It is recommend is to get at least 200 hours+ on the DX200, with it continuing to improve overall with more hours logged the sound stage will open even more and the low and high ends continue to tighten up.
     
    I think not only is important to have at least one decent reference earphone, it is equally or even more so imperative to have a neutral dap of high quality. 
     
    I believe the iBasso DX200 in terms of performance, and most certainly its comparative and competitive price is a great place to start.
     
    Power, performance, price and pleasure. The iBasso DX200.
     
    [​IMG]
     iBasso DX200 with the Advanced AcousticWerkes W300 universal IEM​
     ​
     
    Thank you to iBasso for sending Head pie the DX200 for review​

    1. View previous replies...
    2. ExpatinJapan
      Thanks got the feedback everyone
      ExpatinJapan, Mar 20, 2017
    3. wylfsyn
      Review ok, but player is too big, too expensive, has a lots of bugs in firmware. Oversized Mango Player looks ugly. IMO not worth the money
      wylfsyn, Apr 9, 2017
    4. rolli1949
      Hi wylfen
      Most player have this size in this price class , as battery  / slots , Wifi,Bluetooth ,headphone amp take up some space and  the market ask for more features ! In one unit it becomes difficult to make it smaller without sacrifice sonic & battery performance  .Look at most AK & AK "Kann" they pretty large as well I would say that most Sony players not small either except you go down the price ladder , In regards of expensive I don't get it with this specification you hardly get any player cheaper except the Onkyo player is a bit cheaper but sound-wise to digital at least for me ,Opus# 2 >1550 now done to around 1300 US >rapidly loose value I wonder why ? and is more expensive .Therefore your comment is very general .
      Your comment in regards of  > Review" ok" speaks for it self . For me > congratulation is in place for I-Basso to be able to produce such Player with such specification for under 1000 US ! Any Player with similar specification cost over 1000US is it .SonyNW-WM IA , Opus #2  AK 320 if we talk about the newer generation and simular specifications and features. I dont mind critical comments but it should be constuctive and possible one should have to listen to the player for a while otherwise it does has no bearing whatsoever .
       
      Thanks for your review ExpatinJapan as aim sure it takes time to make a realistic and objective review .
       
      Short note on Sd  card I do not see any problems becuase in the near future 500 GB will be on the market that should be enough for most users . 
      rolli1949, Apr 10, 2017
  2. H20Fidelity
    Excellent price to performance ratio and purchase presentation.
    Written by H20Fidelity
    Published Feb 17, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Amazing sound performance, resolution, detail, dynamics, features, large screen, fast interface, build quality, purchase presentation
    Cons - Single micro sd card slot, minor features missing on initial release firmware, slightly heavy/large device for portability
                                        coverphoto1.jpg
     
     
     
     
    iBasso Audio are no strangers to personal audio, they've been active on the scene for 10-years now. What I admire about the Chinese company is their attention on great hardware, price to performance and genuine appreciation of music quality for themselves and consumers. They definitely aren't unfamiliar with the portable DAP market either with releases such as DX100, DX50, DX90, DX80, along with several portable amplifiers, dac/amps and most recently branching out into IEMs. DX100 was their first endeavour into flagship players back in 2012, it wasn't without some persistent firmware concerns though well received in the sound quality department. Still today, members speak highly of DX100's performance alongside present players of 2017. Every player they have released has been extremely successful with large populated threads on Head-fi.
     
    Today we're going to asses their newest flagship player, DX200, released on iBasso's 10th year anniversary. Decked out with top of the line dual Sabre ES9028 PRO DAC chips, 2GB RAM, 8-Core CPU, Wifi connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0, optical and coax digital out.. large 4.2” touch-screen interface running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, interchangeable amp modules, micro sd expansion, DAC functionality, OTG storage and much more. Like mentioned, iBasso are dedicated in providing powerful hardware and specifications, squeezing in everything they can for a competitive price.
     
    Disclaimer:
     
    I was provided the DX200 unit as a review sample directly from iBasso, I will be giving an opinion based on my personal experience only without any persuasion bias. Thank you to iBasso for considering me as one of the worldwide reviewers for DX200's release.
     
     
    About me:
     
    My opinion for this review will come from over 5-years experience with over 67 digital audio players, all of which can be 'found here' listed on my site profile under source inventory. I don't use highly technical terms or graphs so the review is easy to understand for all readers. Since my time owning and testing digital players I've come to learn much of how a player sounds to any listener will be determined on synergy and the performance ceiling of the IEM or headphone they're using. For the majority of sound impressions in this review I will be using TOTL hybrid in-ear monitors by a company called Tralucent Audio, my preferred brand by choice.
     
     
    iBasso DX200:
     
    Price:  $869
     
    Website: http://ibasso.com/cp_xq_dy.php?id=4898
     
    DX200 User Manual: http://ibasso.com/uploadfiles/20170123/201701230405436442.pdf
     
     
     
     
    Main Features:
     
    1. Dual SABRE ES9028PRO DAC Chips
    2. Bit for Bit Playback Support up to 32bit/384 kHz
    3. Support of Native DSD up to 512x
    4. XMOS USB Receiver with Thesycon USB Audio Driver
    5. Easy to use USB DAC
    6. Dual Accusilicon Ultra Low Phase Noise Femtosecond Oscillators
    7. 4.2" IPS Screen (768*1280) with Capacitive Touch Panel, Bonded by OCA
    8. Mini Optical Output and Mini Coaxial Output
    9. 8-core CPU. - 2GB LPDDR3
    10. 64G of Internal Memory
    11. 5G WiFi and Bluetooth4.0.
    12. Patented User Exchangeable AMP Card
    13. Three Physical Buttons (Previous, Play/Pauses, Next)
    14. 150-Steps Digital Volume Control
    15. 4400mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer battery (Play time vary with AMP card)
     
     
    Specfications:
     
     
    1. 2.5mm Balanced Output: Output voltage 6Vrms
    2. Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz -0.16dB Signal to Noise
    3. Ratio:125dB Crosstalk: -122dB THD+N: < 0.0002%, -114dB (64Ω@3Vrms) 3.5mm HP
    4. Output: Output voltage 3Vrms Frequency
    5. Response: 20Hz-20KHz -0.16dB Signal to Noise
    6. Ratio:122dB Crosstalk: -118dB THD+N: < 0.00032%,-110dB (32Ω@1.8Vrms)
    7. Lineout: Output voltage 3Vrms Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz -0.16dB
    8. Signal to Noise Ratio:122dB THD+N: < 0.00025%,-112dB Screen Size: 4.2inch 768*1280
    9. Battery Capacity: 4400mAh
    10. Case Dimension: 5.1L x 2.7W x 0.77H (inch) 128.5L x 69W x 19.5H (mm)
    11. Weight: 240g or 8.5oz  
     
     
     
    Audio Formats Supported:
     
    1. APE
    2. FLAC
    3. WAV
    4. WMA
    5. AAC
    6. ALAC
    7. AIFF
    8. OGG
    9. MP3
    10. DFF
    11. DSF
    12. DXD
    13. Support for M3U Playlists
     
     
    Packaging:
     
    The packaging has been extremely well prepared and presented for consumers. Apart from wanting to install a small window and door so I can live inside due to its outer exterior the boxing is nothing short of upper-class. It appears the days of Apple, Samsung and even the likes of Astell & Kern won't raise eyelids in comparison to iBasso's DX200 packaging box, I won't enquire how much it cost to produce because the attention to detail is above most I've encountered before, at least my personal journey in portable audio (and including numerous mainstream products). Flagship packaging indeed.
     
    The outer layer has an almost felt like texture, the darkish grey with shades of white colour scheme and etched diagrams on the outside are simplex yet effective, even the inner insert concealing the player is cater designed with graphics walking you around the players outputs and functional buttons. The way you open the box by splitting it into two pieces unique. iBasso took one up on the trend setting beats by Dre boxes we knew years ago with their own specific approach. I will display some photos of the boxing, how the player arrives and that attention to detail. If you're a real packaging freak, who likes to meditate over unboxing's momentarily and cherish that moment, iBasso have not let you down in any shape or form.
     
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    Accessories:
     
    Once you remove DX200 from the top layer there's a second compartment located underneath containing your accessories inside individually labelled boxes. Included is a leather carry case (iBasso branded), a very cool sheathed USB C cable, some extra cables including coax out, a burn in adapter and some paperwork such as your individual serial number and starter guide. The leather case isn't really for me, I appreciate a decent amount of effort went into it and the case may sit better on DX200 after that leather breaks in but its not something I will use personally. For me, the case takes away some of the design appeal DX200 offers, there's something about looking at its build, volume wheel and external buttons which gives a stronger essence of audio for me. In saying this, if I was taking the unit outside regularly without a doubt the included case would offer a large amount of protection for all sides and rear of the unit. If you use the case keep in mind its quite a tight fit at first, you may even feel the player becomes stuck inside. If this occurs take your time in removing it, don't press on the screen too generously or you risk damage. I hear very soon there will be alternative cases available, most likely from the company Dignis, their cases are extremely premium, neat fitting, usually with colour choices but also premium price depending on your location and where you order. Personally, I would like to see iBasso offer a silicon case in the future or by a third party. if I was to niggle I'd prefer one had been included as an extra protective option.
     
    The USB C cable appears custom made, its thick yet flexible, sheathed with a soft nylon like material, very generous considering the cables provided with mainstream and general audio purchases, another well thought gesture of a flagship purchase. The USB C connection itself is quite new to the market, we're slowly seeing it more but the gist of things is the player side connection can be inserted either way and still be functional, there's also some advantages with data transfer speeds and the cable is included for using DX200 as an external DAC when connected to your laptop/PC. I really am impressed with the cable aesthetics, it sure looks great.
     
    An alternative option provided for burning in DX200 (running in the player which iBasso recommend 200-hours) is using the accessory burn in adapter cable. With this cable you plug the connection side into DX200' headphone output, start some music on repeat allowing it to play for several hours at a moderate to high volume. The opinion on burning in devices is quite divided in audio, some people believe it helps, others decline the thought entirely. Myself, I remain neutral seated somewhere in between, I'm always open to the possibility but unless asked by the manufacturer don't become too concerned about it. None the less, if you wish to break your DX200 in this option is there saving you from using one of your expensive headphones or IEMs. The adapter also allows the process to be done completely silently.
     
    Acc1.jpg
     
     
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    Design / Build Quality:
     
     
    DX200's casing is CNC engraved using high-grade aircraft aluminum, this keeps the unit light as possible while remaining robust, the unit weighs in at 240grams total. DX200 resembles something of a thick(ish) smartphone with dimensions 128mm x 69mm x 19mm. There are physical play/pause/ forward/rewind buttons and a nicely designed volume wheel located along the right-hand side with nicely allocated clicks, on the opposite the micro sd card slot is capable of cards up to 256gb in capacity. On top of the unit you'll find your power button, coax/optical 3.5mm ouput jack (combined) and USB C port for charging, DAC connection, data transfer and OTG storage. At the bottom the removable amp labeled 'AMP1' is bolted on securely with two easily accessible flat head screws. When observing the design there is one small issue comes to mind, at first glance two screws holding the side plate cover in place give the appearance of extra buttons, I would recommend in the future changing the colour of these screws to a matching tone so they blend in with the side-plate more consistently and prevent confusion.
     
    On the rear of unit is a hard molded plastic backplate sporting the iBasso logo which provides the player a sense of identity. Overall, the build quality and design represents a quality finish and DX200 is considerably easy to hold one handed, the side buttons lending extra attention to its functionality. I still feel DX200 stands against competition when considering Astell & Kern's designs and build quality if considering flagship units, DX200 unit may appear slightly behind its time since we first heard about it however, what iBasso accomplished is excellent craftsmanship regardless with no real flaws I can uncover.
     
    On the display side DX200 uses a high quality 4.2” IPS screen, resolution coming in at 768*1280 which is quite respectable in the scheme of things. Album art images are full of colour and pop, the UI with its red theme nothing short of excellent, the quality is surprisingly good for a portable audio player, above my expectations and generally quite a large screen when looking at other players on the market right now. Touch response shows no issues and the unit comes pre-installed with a factory screen protector. The large screen makes browsing albums and music a breeze, the speed of the interface makes it entirely pleasing to use, I encounter very little mentionable issues.
     
     
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    User Interface / Android 6.0 / Pure Music Mode:
     
     
    Out of the box DX200 comes running a stripped down version of Android Marshmallow 6.0. Installed by default are a few simple applications such as web browser, file explorer, calculator, clock, video player, downloads manager and photo gallery. Unfortunately at this stage Google Play Store isn't available but many applications such as third party music players can be installed by downloading apk files directly from the Internet. The main application most will use is the iBasso music player app, an application built and designed by iBasso themselves for playing your music files on the device. The interface of this player is extremely colourful, modern and fast for navigation. Inside the app all your usual settings and features are present such as playlists, repeat modes, artist, album, genre, folder browsing, high/low gain including several DAC filter options and more, very similar to what you find in today’s audiophile players (especially iBasso's previous interfaces and optional settings)
     
    Navigating the app is mostly executed with swiping motions across ways letting you zip between screens, the scrolling speed is fast, fluent, button presses are almost instant in response. Overall, the iBasso app player has been well implemented with little bugs or problems I can discover. The only thing missing (at the time of this review) is an on-screen volume adjustment icon activated by the rotation wheel. At this stage when within the application all volume adjustments must be done by spinning the physical wheel rather than anything on-screen, if you exit the app while music is playing back to the Android home screen there is a volume slide-bar on-screen within the Android interface. I have no doubt this feature will also be added within the iBasso app's updates really soon. There is also a 10-brand adjustable EQ within the Android app along with presets, while I won't be using this apparently there are future plans for an improved parametric equaliser to be added.
     
    DX200 also has a second alternative firmware called “'Pure Music Mode'. After holding down the power button in Android mode DX200 will display an extra option along with regular shut down, restart icons found on Android firmwares. The third option will boot the player into a secondary firmware stripping DX200 down to a pure music playing only. The user interface is common and (almost identical) in appearance with iBasso DX80's interface. At this stage on early firmware there is slight lag or small delay present when swiping between screens here but this will be addressed as future firmware upgrades become available. DX200 will also remain in this firmware each power up until you decide to boot back into Android. Whether both playing modes of DX200 sound the same is debatable, we have users who hear no difference between them, and others who call it night and day, (the best person to judge this will be yourself).
     
    Overall, even on early firmware DX200 is practically free from any critical or crippling bugs, there are some minor features missing or need adding eventually. As owners receive units some forgivable issues have been reported only. Considering DX200 was held back intentionally making sure there wasn't stability problems the player does basically everything asked of it out of the box from my testing and how I use it. Doesn't crash, freeze, become unresponsive, it scans my cards quickly without problem, no glaring faults making me overly frustrated. I give huge credit to iBasso for holding back the release date making sure the unit was stable, it means a lot to consumers and far less headaches for them long term. From reading the forums iBasso had around (20) DX200 units set-up doing multiple tasks at their location to help straighten out the initial release firmware.
     
     
    Android Mode
     
     
     
    2017_02_09_14.19.02.png            2017_02_09_14.46.41.png
     
     
    2017_02_09_14.42.35.png            2017_02_09_14.42.48.png
     
     
    2017_02_09_14.44.45.png            2017_02_09_14.44.54.png
     
     
    2017_02_09_14.45.14.png            2017_02_09_14.46.04.png
     
     
    2017_02_09_14.46.16.png            2017_02_09_14.45.52.png
     
     
     
    Pure Mode:
     
    Puremode2.jpg
     
     
    Puremode3.jpg
     
     
    Puremode1.jpg
     
     
     
    Amp Modules:
     
    DX200 will come attached with a stock amp module called AMP1, it supports all popular outputs by default including 3.5mm single ended output (most common headphone connection), 2.5mm balanced output and your normally found 3.5mm line out jack for feeding DX200 into portable or desktop amplifiers. iBasso have confirmed the output impedance for the headphones outputs is below < 0.3ohm. In the future other interchangeable amp modules will be released, while iBasso haven't specifically said what their functionality will be I imagine they have some clever ideas up their sleeves. Some that come to mind are modules that concentrate on high output power, possibly a premium module to take the sound up another notch, they mention on their website something about 'synergy matching', there's every chance they could design alternative modules that sound a little warmer, thicker, cooler, brighter etc, perhaps one for longer battery life. Regardless of anything said, the modules themselves have great advantage, as time goes by you can customize DX200 into virtually an entirely different sounding player, there is lots of potential and possibilities which expand the duration of DX200's life cycle on the market. When considering hiss and background noise I cannot detect any from my IEM inventory which were all low quite sensitive impedance, I don't have anything here hiss prone such as Shure's SE846 to try though every IEM I try (mostly Tralucent branded) don't display anything I can detect with or without music playing using the default AMP1 module.
     
     
     
    player2.jpg
     
     
    player3.jpg
     
     
     
     
    Additional Outputs / Connection Options:
     
    Additional outputs include optical out, coax out, line out, Wifi, Bluetooth 4.0. DX200 was specially designed with its metal casing to be excellent at keeping unwanted interference noise out. Many players on the market have displayed some types of RFI interference when streaming music with their Wifi active. From my testing with Wifi active doing tasks I cannot hear any interference with my low impedance IEMs. Reports are also coming in solid DX200 is silent when doing this and its advertised on the iBasso website as a highlighted area they worked on during the design phase. From my research all people using single ended 3.5mm output report no noise, there was one case I read a member reported a small (negligible) amount from the 2.5mm balanced out. DX200 has the ability to connect wireless headphones via its up to date Bluetooth option, portable dac/amps can take advantage of the coax out and optical out which shares a 2in1 3.5mm output jack located on top of the player. The only option I've not tried or looked into is whether DX200 has the ability to perform a USB audio out signal, at this stage without Google Play Store on the unit some of the paid apps used to create a connection cannot be installed. I would suggest anyone to checkout the Hiby Music app which is free to use and able to achieve this task with Android smartphones. DX200 can also be used as a USB DAC to your laptop or PC, it seems a feature popping up on all players in the market these days even cheaper offerings so its obvious to see the implementation here.
     
     
    Battery Life:
     
    DX200 uses an internal 4400mAh battery, the run times are coming in between 7-8 hours depending on the file format used which is around 2-days of casual listening for myself. If you're simply playing lower resolution files (which are also smaller file size ) like MP3 or 16/44 FLAC the player has far less processing work which keeps power consumption down. When utilising DX200's hi-res playback with 24bit or DSD the player needs to work harder, reports are coming in around 5-6 hours with these kinds of formats. The battery itself charges via the provided USB C cable taking around 3-4 hours depending what percentage you let it drop. Myself allow players batteries to drop around 40% before topping them back to 100%, people have different methods they follow and that's fine. An interesting aspect about DX200's battery is while the internal battery isn't user replaceable like Samsung smartphones or the earlier DX50/90 players iBasso thought ahead when designing DX200 which makes accessing the battery quite easy and convenient in the future. As things stand, DX200's battery will last many years providing its looked after correctly When reading comments iBasso explained they specifically used a high-grade battery inside DX200 and expect it to last a long long time.
     
     
    Output Power:
     
    DX200 can pack out a large amount of power for full-size headphones even with the stock amp module, while I haven't been able to try anything overly demanding there are several reports being logged in the official DX200 thread .It comes as no surprises, the level of dynamics created and headroom even in low gain using AMP1 module expresses the amount of driving power DX200 should be capable of. Due to not owning anything physically demanding in my inventory its hard for me to give a exact impression on this area though safe to say I've seen reputable (trusted) members mentioning the HD800 being driven by DX200 (somewhat) comfortably, but please take this section from word of mouth and myself following the official thread everyday for quite sometime now. Even check some other reviews if your interest is specifically this area.
     
     
    Running Temperature:
     
    Something to mention about DX200, when running for hours on end the unit becomes quite warm, it may even feel slightly hot around the sides and backplate. After experiencing this mild heat myself along with several other reports its a completely normal occurrence. I will always recommend turning the unit off when not in use, its an audio player not an Android phone you leave in standby, when the power is on DX200 will probably not deep sleep like a smartphones, its amp section will be on, its internals, and you will be losing battery power. Apart from this when the unit is running (especially with hi-res and at higher volumes) the heat produced is nothing to worry about. Unless of course, there is some obvious fire or smoke pouring out...
     
     
     
    Sound Quality:
     
    Firmware Version: V1.3.60
     
    Firmware mode used: Android firmware/mode – iBasso App Music Player.
     
    Files: 16/44 FLAC (all files)
     
    Output: 3.5mm single ended (AMP1 Module)
     
    Headphone/IEM:  (not listed in order of preference)
     
     
    1. Tralucent 1Plus2
    2. iBasso IT03
    3. Tralucent 1Plus2.2
    4. Tralucent Ref.1
     
     
     
    On the sound front its full steam ahead, DX200 serves up potent doses of resolution and detail, its tonality leans every so slightly cool due to the dual Sabre DAC's and stock AMP1 module but with a particular addition. While DX200's voice leans on the energetic lively side its also quite full/thick sounding in note weight particularly around the mid-range, this thickness and fleshed out detail is also accompanied with an ever so slight essence of warmth layered inside the tonality, not too much it ever sounds veiled but enough to lessen a majority of long-term listener fatigue many experience with several Sabre DAC implementations, it provides a slight amount of smoothness to the detail retrieval and a percentage of musicality. Overall still lots of Sabre attitude voiced within DX200. Areas like dynamics in combination with DX200's high output power come into force when listening at moderate volumes, side instruments and backing vocals create individual walls of abrupt detail letting you hear them in new fashion as they enter in/out. Areas like refinement are strong strong aspects allowing high levels of coherency and separation so there's hardly any loss of understanding samples within a track. With many players some samples become lost or slightly blurry throughout busy or complex passages, DX200 does a fantastic job keeping the music posture tight, you will perceive samples with higher accuracy providing your headphones are capable of revealing them.
     
    The players balance between bass/mids/highs is considerably flat, there's no emphasis in bass regions that shouldn't be in recordings, lows have large amounts of bubbly clarity and texture which provide levels of depth. Extension can reach down extremely low into sub-bass region’s with impact when called upon but only if DX200 detects this in a recording, its the tell tale story of 'if its in the recording' DX200 should display the music accurately as its primary role suggests reproducing reference sound. When listening with Tralucent 1Plus2.2 occasionally I notice there can be a slight lack of speed in the lows or tightness on busy tracks which doesn't seem apparent when switching over to another IEM, it makes me question if the IEM or player is producing the difference. When moving into the highs detail and extension are clear without any harshness, there's a good balance of treble that never treads out of line, you'll especially notice high frequency samples and instruments on the left/right outer channels quite obviously within the layering, its not metallic or unnatural and particularity inoffensive. Very well polished upstairs.
     
    Soundstage is an assorted area for me, reports from several trusted owners are expressing DX200 being extremely airy and wide in staging, many of them suggest this from the 2.5mm balanced output. Unfortunately, using the single ended 3.5mm output I don't hear the stage to these lengths, its not closed in or compressed, I can make it wider with different tip selections on my IEM's though naturally I do hear slightly wider/airier stage from my Tralucent DacAmp by default. Some tracks may sound quite wide with DX200 another lacking though this doesn't appear to be the recordings when switching between the two sources as the Tralucent DAC is always slightly wider. From my experience with iBasso's players (and others) soundstage width can alter after simple firmware updates, I'm hoping this is the case for me down the road. Moving on from soundstage layering on the left/right channels are reasonably strong aspects, hearing side instruments on the outer channels imaging accurately in precise locations, again, when the layering displays itself you achieve high levels of detail accompanying the instruments which forms an extremely detailed almost energized presentation.
     
    Something a player or any source needs to accomplish is accurate timbre reproduction, a well-recorded piano track is a great starting point, others familiar with classical music may use string instruments such as the violin. Its these kind of tracks you really begin to test a digital sources capabilities and when competent enough you occasionally extract feeling or emotion from sound quality alone. I'm not talking about simply enjoying a song because “its a good song”, if your IEM's are capable enough and the quality of music is outstanding enough you begin to draw a new state of feeling, the shear sound quality can make you teary-eyed, or feel overwhelmed from its presence. Does DX200 produce such a timbre, atmosphere and emit this sensation I've heard from a small amount of others? Well, I won't say the timbre is in anyway inaccurate it does a fabulous job, vocal reproduction and detail absolutely provides such sensations, it can really blow you away, but its a little different from what I've become accustom too particularly when a piano key note decays, its quite fast in decay with the default filter option (4) I use by preference. If anything it simply offers a different take on timbre. The note weight is quite solid, DX200 uses this along with dynamics to push out full fleshed detailed instruments. Its accurate, not unnatural or at fault, just taking on different entity to what I've accustom too in the past, not a bad thing when owning multiple sources.
     
     
     
     
    Conclusion:
     
    DX200's sound alone is worth more than its asking price, there's no other way to put it, I can confidentially say this from experience with digital audio players over the years. The strong hardware speaks for itself even before considering the additional features. It leaves DAP's like my Astell & Kern AK300 priced similarly far behind, even to laughable extents. Instead, DX200 raises muscle to the likes of Sony's new $3000 Walkman, PAW Gold and flagship level AK380. When a product reaches these players in performance at just fractions of their retail price its not only self-explanatory, there's also little standing in DX200's way currently on the market. The sound is highly detailed, dynamic, super strong in resolution, refinement and technical ability, it makes me underwhelmed with other gear in several sound areas when hearing my favourite tracks played through it. Extremely high (and in my opinion) practically unmatched price to performance where we stand in 2017 now in terms of audio players. Like mentioned in opening paragraphs, iBasso are about bang for buck, sound for pound, DX200 is an absolute testament to that phrase.
     
    Along with the premium packaging, well thought out accessories and incoming amp modules you're getting a lot for your money in terms of satisfaction and versatility. The unit overall can be a little large/heavy to cart around, I would have liked to see a secondary silicon case provided and the single memory card slot is a turn off for some (although I'm confident when people hear DX200 their priorities may shift). The large screen and easy to use swift Android interface makes the unit a breeze to navigate. While the overall design doesn't quite impact as AK luxury the literal $2-3K you save keeps those thoughts at bay. I give big congratulations to iBasso getting DX200 released so stable, its been a pleasure to use, review and listen to, you should be very proud.
     
    I'm giving the review 4.5-stars because the price to performance ratio sound-wise is extremely high. When I think through the entire review pro/con there's really nothing glaring I can personally fault with DX200 besides some minor sound characteristics purely preference related or a non-critical bug/feature that needs adding. When I consider the steadily increasing prices of flagship players from companies like Sony, Astell & Kern, (and others) quickly stretching out of reach for many consumers, then considerate DX200 challenging these in sound quality for under $1000 USD this type of demonstration cannot be ignored and should be praised.
     
     
     
    ~H20
    1. View previous replies...
    2. nuxos
      Great review, easy to read and very detailed
      nuxos, Feb 20, 2017
    3. nzvlam
      Very nice review!  Classy towel!  I particularly like you did not take credit from other people's comments. 
      nzvlam, Feb 23, 2017
    4. Soundtrap
      Have you had a encounters with Cayin I5 , Cowon PM2 or new FiiO x5lll. Any comparison thoughts  with DX200?
      Soundtrap, Mar 11, 2017